Psoriasis Shampoos Your Scalp Will Love
You deserve a product that keeps the itching and flaking at bay.
Over-the-counter shampoos are good for treating mild scalp psoriasis symptoms or removing scales so prescription scalp topicals can penetrate. With help from Meghan Feely, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey and New York City, who serves as a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Hospitalâs department of dermatology, we compiled the following tips.
The following shampoos have all received the NPF Seal of Recognition, which highlights OTC products that are created to be safe for people with psoriasis.
MG217 Medicated Conditioning Coal Tar Formula ShampooActive ingredient: 3% coal tar
Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo-Stubborn ItchActive ingredient: 0.5% coal tar
Dermarest Psoriasis Medicated Shampoo Plus ConditionerActive ingredient: 3% salicylic acid
3 things to remember
Use all products as directed. Even effective treatments can cause side effects, such as irritation, itching and redness, that can aggravate psoriasis.
Medicated shampoos are meant to treat the scalp, not the hair. Separate sections of hair and gently apply medicated products only to roots. You can follow medicated shampoos with a moisturizing conditioner.
The best way to know if an OTC product is safe and effective: Ask your dermatologist.
Home Remedies To Try To Relieve Scalp Psoriasis
About half of the 8 million Americans affected with psoriasis have the condition on their scalp, aptly called scalp psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis formation has no relation to our hair types or textures, so pretty much anyone can develop the condition. Mild cases are characterized by fine, powdery flakes. Moderate cases involve scales, while more severe cases include plaques, which are raised, scaly patches of skin.
On lighter skin, these plaques appear red and silver on darker skin, plaques appear purple, grey, or dark brown. The condition can cause itchiness, inflammation, and discomfort, and the temptation to scratch might lead to infection or hair loss.
Managing scalp psoriasis involves some trial and error, as you find the over-the-counter shampoo or topical that works for you, without causing further irritation. A board-certified dermatologist can also prescribe medicated formulas, oral treatments, or administer a laser if you’re not seeing an improvement from home remedies, if you need to take this route.
Ahead, we offer 10 solutions for managing scalp psoriasis with home remedies, so you can get relief fast.
Head And Shoulders Clinical Strength Shampoo
If your scalp psoriasis is mild and causes little flaking or itching, then it doesnt make sense to apply a strong coal tar-based shampoo to the tresses. A gentler product that controls inflammation and cleanses the scalp would be enough. Like this Head and Shoulders clinical strength shampoo!
The main component here is selenium sulfide that fights fungal infection and controls flaking of the skin on the scalp. Plus, its oil-controlling properties ensure that the scalp remains healthy and prevents psoriasis symptoms from getting worse.
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A Shampoo For Psoriasis And Color Treated Hair Should Include These Ingredients
You have probably read that avoiding sulfates in a shampoo will help prevent fading of your hair color. Unfortunately, there are no studies that have actually proven this to be true. Detergents are necessary to help cleanse your hair and your scalp especially if you suffer from psoriasis. More importantly then avoiding sulfates you need to be looking for ingredients that will nourish, protect and strengthen your hair. One ingredient that is excellent for conditioning is polyquaternium or sometimes just called quaternium. This is a relatively expensive ingredient so you dont find it in a lot of shampoos. Once you have tried one with polyquaternium you will definitely see and feel the difference.
Neutrogena T/sal Therapeutic Shampoo
If your scalp psoriasis is of the milder form, try using this T/Sal shampoo from Neutrogena. Unlike the T/Gel, this product contains salicylic acid as an active ingredient. Its great for reducing symptoms like redness, irritation and itching on the scalp. The 3 percent salicylic acid formulation chemically exfoliates the scalp, softening and breaking down scaly crusts.
Have sensitive skin? Not to worry, this product is super mild. You wont find any artificial colours, fragrances, alcohol, or preservatives on the ingredient list.
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Obtaining Psoriasis Shampoos And Scalp Applications
As weve already highlighted, several types of psoriasis shampoo and scalp application are available without a prescription. Certain products, including Polytar, can even be bought without speaking to a pharmacist.
However, its generally a good idea to speak to a medical professional before you start using any psoriasis shampoo or scalp application if you havent received a diagnosis of scalp psoriasis, you may end up using the wrong treatment.
To learn more, make an appointment with your GP, or pop into your nearest LloydsPharmacy for advice from one of our experienced Pharmacists.
Treatments Designed With Hair In Mind
In recent years, pharmaceutical companies have worked not just on making scalp psoriasis treatments more effective, but on making them easier and more pleasant to apply.
This gives health care providers and patients options that now include shampoos, lotions, creams, sprays, gels, foams/mousses, and ointments. For more severe scalp psoriasis or when it also appears elsewhere on the body, there are also daily pills, occasional injections, and periodic infusions available that are effective on the scalp. UV light therapy is also appropriate in select cases .
A brief introduction to the many options follows, so you can make the most of your doctor visits and get on track to improve the condition of your scalp and give you a sense of peace that scalp psoriasis so often disrupts.
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How Is Scalp Psoriasis Treated
Scalp psoriasis is treatable. Treatment options include medications applied to the skin, medicated shampoos, scale softeners, injections, light treatments, and oral medications.
Watch dermatologist Dr. Raja Sivamani talk about treatments for scalp psoriasis.
Scalp psoriasis is often challenging to treat because plaques can become thicker under hair than on an arm or knee. Hair also makes it harder to apply creams and ointment to affected areas. Finding the right treatment or combination of treatments can take time, because each person responds differently. Treatments must also be rotated, because they can have side effects or become ineffective when used for long periods.
Best Coal Tar Shampoo
“Coal tar is a mainstay in the treatment of psoriasis,” says Dr. Mauricio, adding that coal tar shampoos, such as Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo, can be very effective. This popular shampoo received the National Psoriasis Foundation Seal of Recognition, meaning it’s intended to be non-irritating and safe for people with psoriasis. It helps treat itching and reduces scalp buildup, but there are some limitations to the benefits of coal tar. Kids canât use the ingredient, for one, and you have to be careful with sun exposure when using coal tar. It can also temporarily discolor light-colored hair, and also runs the risk of staining your skin or clothing.
Note that Dr. Mauricio has her patients with scalp psoriasis rotate between this, Selsun Blue, Nizoral, and a shampoo with salicylic acid â all featured below â for best results.
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Neutrogena T/gel Therapeutic Shampoo Extra Strength
If your psoriasis has gone from bad to worse, try treating it with an extra-strength coal tar shampoo like this product from Neutrogena. Its not just us, even dermatologists swear by it. This T/Gel shampoo has a 4 percent coal tar formulation that reduces inflammation, controls itching and breaks down the scaly crusts on your scalp. Another great thing about this product is that its perfectly safe to use on colour-treated hair.
Just a word of caution. Using this extra strength shampoo can dry out your hair. So try using it in rotation with other shampoos.
Dove Derma Care Scalp Dryness & Itch Relief Anti Dandruff Shampoo
This Dove Derma Care shampoo is another fantastic product for those with milder psoriasis symptoms. It contains zinc pyrithione that gently cleanses the scalp to remove dandruff flakes and prevent their reoccurrence. The formula works well for psoriasis symptoms like flake build-up, itching, irritation, etc. If these symptoms are not very troublesome, then this shampoo is better than using a heavy-handed approach like coal tar.
Another perk of using the Dove Derma Care shampoo is that your hair looks soft and shiny after use. It has nourishing ingredients like shea butter and coconut that condition the tresses and leave them frizz-free and smooth.
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Medicine You Apply To The Scalp
This is the most commonly prescribed treatment. Your plan may include one or more of the following medicines.
Corticosteroids: This is the #1-prescribed treatment for scalp psoriasis in children and adults. Corticosteroids work quickly to reduce redness, swelling, itch, and scale. This makes it more effective than any other treatment that you apply to the scalp.
When used as directed, this medicine is safe. Because side effects can occur with long-term use, your dermatologist may recommend another treatment to use with the corticosteroid. This reduces possible side effects.
Medicated shampoos: This is often part of a treatment plan.
If you have stubborn scalp psoriasis, your dermatologist may prescribe a shampoo that contains clobetasol propionate. This can be quite effective when used in a shampoo. Studies show that patients can safely use this shampoo every day for up to four weeks. Its also safe to use it once or twice a week to maintain results.
Rubbing, scrubbing, and scratching your scalp can worsen existing psoriasis.
Scale softeners: If the psoriasis on your scalp is thick, it can be hard for the treatment you apply to work. A product that contains salicylic acid can soften thick, stubborn patches. Other ingredients can also help.
Tip for applying medicine
Lift your hair up and away when applying medicine to your scalp.
Mg217 Psoriasis Medicated Conditioning 3% Coal Tar Shampoo
This MG217 psoriasis medicated conditioning shampoo is a boon for those with severe psoriasis. The best part about this product is that despite high 3 percent coal tar formulation it is gentle and nourishing on the scalp. It controls flaking, itchiness and inflammation, and also removes crust and product build-up from the scalp.
This shampoo not just controls the current symptoms of psoriasis but also prevents them from recurring. As it has an extra-strong concentration, you can use it only 3-4 times a month, saving on the product too. We also love how it leaves behind a pleasant herbal fragrance after use.
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Treatment: Where To Start
The most common treatments for mild cases are medications that you put directly on your scalp. If you have a more severe case or have psoriasis elsewhere on your body, you may need a medication that treats your whole body. You can take these medications by mouth or injection.
If your psoriasis doesn’t respond well after repeated use of one medication, your doctor may replace or combine it with another type of treatment.
One of the first steps is to soften and remove scales. This makes it easier for medications to do their job.
- Apply over-the-counter products to your scalp to help soften scales and make them easier to peel off. Look for products with the active ingredients salicylic acid, lactic acid, urea, zinc pyrithione, or selenium sulfide.
- Gently loosen the scales with a brush or fine-toothed comb.
- Shampoo your scalp to remove the scales, using a salicylic acid shampoo or soap.
- Apply thick creams to your scalp while it’s still damp to hold in the moisture.
To apply medication:
How To Treat Scalp Psoriasis
While scalp psoriasis is a chronic condition, you can help ease uncomfortable symptoms with the right plan. Its important to see a dermatologist as soon as you suspect you may have the condition, though, as scalp psoriasis treatment is highly individualized and requires some persistence.
It depends on things like hair type, what treatments people have tried in the past, whether people have open sores, their stress level, even how long their hair is, Dr. Bhutani says. Please see your dermatologist. Even if what youre dealing with turns out to be just really bad dandruff, you shouldnt have to live with it.
The most common scalp psoriasis treatments include11:
I usually recommend treating scalp psoriasis from the outside first, Dr. Bhutani says, explaining that she often prescribes topical corticosteroids first. Although topical treatments are very effective for short-term management of scalp psoriasis flare-ups, if the symptoms are severe or if the plaques spread to other areas of the body, additional treatment may be needed.
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Psoriasis Shampoo: How To Choose
Finding a good soap or shampoo when you have psoriasis can be hard. Any product you choose needs to manage the flaking and other issues that come with scalp psoriasis. Many shampoos on the market have ingredients that make psoriasis symptoms worse. No one wants their already itchy, painful scalp to have an allergic reaction to something thats supposed to help the skin.
One MyPsoriasisTeam member aptly described the struggle. I find it more important to watch what shampoos, laundry soap, and lotions have direct contact with the skin even the materials theyre made from.
The scalp is one of the most common areas of affected skin for people with psoriasis. One study estimated that 80 percent of people with psoriasis have had it on the scalp. Shampoo and conditioner are both simple treatments for scalp psoriasis. Theyre easily applied as part of your daily routine, and they can be discontinued quickly if they cause an adverse reaction.
Wild Naturals Eczema Psoriasis
If you want to take a herbal approach to treat scalp psoriasis, try this shampoo by Wild Naturals. While it might pinch your pocket a little, its organic, natural ingredients and effective formula make it worth the splurge. Whats unique about this shampoo is that its base isnt water, its aloe vera! Plus, the formulation contains nourishing ingredients like coconut oil and manuka honey. They condition the hair and maintain the scalp pH balance, reducing flaking and itchiness.
So if you have extra-sensitive skin or if the coal tar formulation is not working out for you, try this shampoo. Youll see that sulphates, parabens, fragrances and other toxic chemicals are missing from the ingredients list.
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What Treatments Might Your Doctor Recommend For Scalp Psoriasis
You should definitely consult your doctor or dermatologist to find the right treatment â and there are plenty they might suggest:
1. Medicines applied to the skin
These treatments aim to soothe and reduce irritation and inhibit the skin cell turnover. Corticosteroids are prescribed most commonly.
2. UV light therapy
The Best Shampoos For Psoriasis According To Dermatologists
The best part: You can get them at any drugstore.
If you suffer from scalp psoriasiswhich affects nearly 80 percent of patients with psoriasisreaching for a garden-variety drugstore shampoo to wash your hair wont help improve the itching, scaling, and crusting on your scalp.
Psoriasis presents as a build-up of skin cells which create scaly, patches that can itch, hurt, crust up and bleed, says Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. This buildup, according to Dr. Engleman, can range from mild scalp psoriasis, which appears as fine scaling, to severe scalp psoriasis, which looks like thick, crusted plaques.
Because there’s no cure for psoriasis, “management is key,” says Dr. Englemanwhich is why it’s so important to look for the right product to keep your symptoms at bay. Here, dermatologists weigh in on the best shampoos for psoriasisand why they’re essential to your routine.
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Can Psoriasis Can Hair Loss
Yes, it absolutely can cause hair thinning and hair loss. The bright side of this is that the hair loss is temporary. Once the flare-up subsides, your hair will grow back. During a flare-up, your scalp may itch to a point where it feels unbearable. To get relief, you are going to try to scratch your scalp. The problem when you have psoriasis is that scratching your itch only makes things worse. Its just one big vicious cycle. You may scratch your scalp so hard, you cause your hair to fall out. It is difficult to not scratch when your scalp feels like that, but that is the best thing you can do to preserve your hair. Cold compresses are another suggestion for trying to calm your scalp down.
Topical Creams And Ointments
Another treatment option is the so-called vitamin D3 derivatives, such as calcipotriol and tacalcitol. These active ingredients inhibit the rapid division of skin cells typical of psoriasis.
They promote normalization of the cornification and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Particularly pleasant to use: the gels are quickly absorbed and leave no traces of grease.
Special ointments with vitamin D3 have been developed that work just as well as cortisone, but do not have any side effects.
Cortisone is a highly effective anti-inflammatory drug and is therefore particularly effective against moderate psoriasis. In this way, the inflammation can be fought quickly and the associated dandruff plague is contained.
The cortisone active ingredient is usually applied in liquid form to the affected areas of the skin without greasing the hair. Depending on the level of inflammation, cortisone is prescribed in pure form, in a diluted form, or in a fixed combination with other active ingredients.
Preparations that contain vitamin D3 derivatives or a combination of vitamin D3 derivatives with cortisone are suitable for a longer period of use of up to one year.
Pure cortisone preparations, on the other hand, are not suitable for permanent external use for scalp psoriasis.
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